A HISTORY project focusing on three key figures from Poole's maritime past will be officially launched today.

The 'Pirates, Castaways and Codfish' initiative, spearheaded by the Rotary Club of Poole Bay, will take an in-depth look at the lives of Admiral Sir Thomas Button, Captain John Bennett and Governor Woodes Rogers.

Don Nutt, project manager for Poole Bay Rotary, said all three men played a part in influencing the port of Poole during the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries.

Mr Nutt added: "There has already been tremendous interest from local groups to help tell this story about the development of Poole as an international trading port."

The club wants to produce a new exhibition for Poole Museum, a heritage booklet and self-guided walk, CD/audio visual display, together with a range of educational materials for use by schools.

Mr Nutt said: "We are looking forward to making this new information easily available in a variety of different forms throughout the project."

Last month, the Echo reported how the project had secured almost £10,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The project grew from an original survey, undertaken by Poole Bay Rotary, to record the old alleyways of the town.

During this survey work, which led to the eventual introduction of the Rotary's 'Five Quays Walk' in 2011, the club discovered possible links between these old passages and important historical figures from the town’s past.

Speaking after the project was awarded a £9,900 National Lottery grant, Heritage Lottery Fund South West head Nerys Watts said: "Thanks to the money raised by the National Lottery players, we’re pleased to support this project which will see volunteers play a key role in bringing Poole’s rich maritime heritage to life."

The official project launch takes place this afternoon at Poole Museum.